February 5, 2009

Michele Brody: Teresa Moran

While doing more artist research , I kept thinking about the following:

We are constantly surrounded by things. Certain things provoke certain feelings within us. Some, not so much. What begins to happen often is that we lose sensitivity. And we lose sensitivity because it becomes familiar. ‘It’ can be your surroundings, your home, things, etc. What you know and the things which you frequently experience become somewhat taken for granted.

The artist Anne Wilson brings ‘it’ to your attention. And she questions its importance. She makes you wonder what ‘it’ means to you. How did you perceive it for the first time? How did it affect you?

In an Inquiry About Hair she asks:
-What does it mean to cut your hair?
-How does it feel to cut your hair?
People responded:
Aime, USA
“If you're a white woman in the USA, your hair is a precious symbol of beauty. Males constantly tell me I ought to grow my hair out again because I was so beautiful before. My reply usually is that I am still beautiful and I will always be beautiful whether I have hair or not.
One year and 10 days ago I shaved my head. Everyone stared at me, as though I was a freak, or a goddess (it depends on your perspective I suppose). Shaving my head was a protest of the White American beauty standards that seep into the fragile minds of all who live in this country, regardless of age, race, class, sexual orientation, etc. I didn't want to keep reaching for the "all American dream" of beauty and agelessness. I wanted to shout "I am beautiful with a naked head!" and that the mold women are expected to fit can be disrupted, altered, chipped away at -- one hair at a time maybe.
I am a woman and I am beautiful always."

Anonymous, USA
Hair Then and Hair Now.....
"As a seventh grader in the late 60's my hair was beyond shoulder length, straight and naturally white-blond. I guess my parents were considered "progressive", because none of my friends were permitted to have hair that long and the stigma associated with it (Vietnam-era) was pretty strong. It also gave me a powerful sexual signal - adolescent male, long locks, coming of sexual maturity, etc. It didn't matter whether I was surfing, riding a bicycle or walking along with the wind blowing across my face and through my hair - the signal was the same - I'm counterculture, I'm attractive, I'm sexually capable, I'm fucking with androgyny (which in those days wasn't as diluted as it is now) and... I'm in your face. I never knew just what sort of signal I sent until I found it easy to attract girls (in actuality, the confidence it gave me and that which I projected probably played a greater role than the hair itself) and one time in a men's restroom in Hawaii near the Pearl Harbor Monument. Standing there, penis in hand (and pissing), this WWII veteran stepped up next to me at the urinal, looked at me and said "you long yellow haired puke, well I thought you were a girl!". Needless to say, it was a profound event for a 14 year old - - the male to male confrontational sexuality issue notwithstanding. I wore my hair like that through high school, and then cut it short right after graduation before a trip to Europe and college. I can still remember the day I got it cut...... watching the locks fall to the floor, feeling the cold air on the back of my neck. Hard to admit, but I felt less tall, less strong and noticed that those mannerisms and postures I had adopted because of my hair (flinging it back over my shoulders, running my fingers through it, even the way I walked, etc.) were lost. Feeling a little more self conscious than ever before, I experienced having to redevelop a kind of "attitude" that was enshrouded by my hair. Through this I also re-learned how to project an appearance, but maintain an inner persona that could be completely dissimilar.
I still have my high school graduation photo - I even used it in a lecture I gave about two years ago, just to surprise the audience that the clean cut physician they know now looked and acted "that" way in the past. So I guess I'm still using my hair - both in its past long length and present shorter version to the original psychological intent from years ago. I guess some things, unlike photos of one's hair, never change. "

This project she did really exited me because what she is doing is raising awareness of things. With the pageant, I believe the goal is the same.

Teresa Moran

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